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SD26 Changes Ownership as Tony May and Marisa May Embark on New Ventures

SD26 changes ownership, is bought by John Doherty

After five years of success in their Madison Square Park location, Tony May and Marisa May are moving on from SD26. As of March 30th, the restaurateurs will begin new chapters of their professional and personal lives, moving beyond the day-to-day rigors of running a restaurant.

Tony May has been at the forefront of the New York restaurant scene for over 50 years. He managed the famous Rainbow Room for nearly 20 years before moving on to open Palio, Gemelli, PastaBreak, San Domenico NY and SD26, amassing praise and awards along the way. Most recently, May authored a textbook on Italian cooking, Italian Cuisine: Basic Cooking Techniques. The book is widely used in culinary schools, as well as by the general public. Recently, May founded the “Tony May Scholarship Program” through the James Beard Foundation, which sends three culinary students a year to ICIF, the culinary school founded by May in Piemonte, Italy.

May says that he is currently weighing his next steps. He has received multiple offers to teach and to serve as a brand ambassador for companies in both the United States and Italy. While May has not disclosed which companies have reached out to him, he is open about his ambitions to open another culinary school in Morocco.

John Doherty buys SD26

May’s daughter and business partner, Marisa May (now Marisa May-Metalli) grew up working in the Rainbow Room, Palio and eventually managing San Domenico NY before becoming a co-owner of SD26. Over the course of her career, she has served on numerous committees and boards, including the Madison Square Park Conservancy. She has also made guest appearances on the Food Network and is a regular guest on the Today show.

Newly married, May-Metalli plans to divide her time between Rome and New York, continuing to work on projects in media, luxury goods and hospitality marketing.

As of March 30th, The John Doherty Group will take ownership of SD26’s lease at 19 East 26th Street. John Doherty plans to keep SD26 operating under the continued direction of Executive Chef Matteo Bergamini, while he and his team fully develop the new concept for the space. In August, SD26 will temporarily close and reopen in September, likely with a rustic American menu and a new name. Doherty plans to keep the award-winning Bergamini on board as Executive Chef for the new venture.

We attended the fundraiser for the James Beard Foundation at SD26 in January. For pictures of the event, see our Instagram Diary. You can also see our video interview with Tony and Marisa.

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